A third UEFA club competition is set to be introduced from the 2021-22 season alongside the Champions League and Europa League from 2021.
— RT Sport (@RTSportNews) September 12, 2018
European Club Association (ECA) chairman Andrea Agnelli told his members at a meeting in Split that the new competition would bring the “overall number of clubs” involved in UEFA club competition to 96. Under the new format, the Europa League‘s group stage will be reduced from 48 teams to 32, with the new competition and the Champions League will have the same number. European Club Association (ECA) chairman Andrea Agnelli, who is also on UEFA’s executive committee, said: “the green light has been given“. He did not give any more information on how the tournament would be organized.
Agnelli, who is also director of Juventus, holds one of two seats allocated to club representatives on the UEFA executive committee, which will next meet on September 27 in Nyon, Switzerland. In his opening address at the ECA’s biannual general meeting on Tuesday, Agnelli said: “Pending approval of the UEFA executive committee, the green light has been given to introduce a third competition, bringing the overall number of clubs to 96, as of the 2021/22 season.”
We’re under way at the annual UEFA-EU Stadium & Security Conference in Munich 🏟
— UEFA (@UEFA) September 13, 2018
Europe actually used to have a third competition for winners of domestic cup tournaments, known as the Cup Winners’ Cup, but it was abolished in 1999. Domestic cup winners now enter the Europa League. The ECA has previously called for more clubs to be involved in European competitions and a “greater certainty of matches” for participating clubs. UEFA has made little mystery of the fact it has been viewing at ways to raise the Europa League’s profile while also giving more clubs a shot at the European championships, and therefore its increasing financial advantages.
Two weeks ago in Monaco, UEFA said it is “constantly reviewing” its competitions and has been “discussing various ideas within its Club Competitions Committee before any decision on potential changes would be made”. Back then, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin mentioned that proposals were “just discussions“. Agnelli also repeated his call from last year for a severe overhaul of the international match calendar, which is brought up by global soccer body FIFA and allows dates for national team matches.
“A detailed assessment of the existing international match calendar is required prior to presenting a new model post-2024. The current model needs modernizing,” added Agnelli.
Regarding the future of @UEFA Club Competitions, Andrea Agnelli informed members:
"Pending approval of the @UEFA ExCo, the 'green light' has been given to introduce a third competition, bringing the overall number of clubs to 96, as of the 2021/22 season" #ECAGeneralAssembly pic.twitter.com/W8tXL1pdsN
— ECA (@ECAEurope) September 11, 2018
The European Leagues, the organization that represents 32 leagues across Europe including the Premier League, Scottish Premiership, and EFL, said they would fight the plans. Deputy general secretary Alberto Colombo said: “We are not happy about the process at all, because this is something that has been prepared and cooked up by UEFA and the ECA without proper engagement.”
Overall, the prospect of a whole new competition brings excitement to some and fear to some. Whether or not the new competition will actually see daylight is a tough question to answer as of now, however, it is worth acknowledging the fact that UEFA is planning reformations in the internationally loved frame of European football.